It's quite possible then, if I had to pick a single computer wargame to have with me on my island, it would be Frank Hunter's Campaigns on the Danube.
|Viewing the units of Lannes Corps during an 1809 scenario|
This is not a new game. In fact, it's ten years old. Thanks to a recent patch from Mr. Hunter and a stunning new map and counter mod by Chemkid, the game looks and plays better than it ever has.
|Davout's cavalry about to engage some cavalry and infantry from Kolowrat's corps.|
|The actual battle about to begin. The tactical system is easy to grasp and the results easy to understand.|
|Lefebvre defends north of the Iser while Lannes pushes south along the Danube and Davout assaults Cham|
|The Austrians are on the run after several engagements left most of their corps shattered. This time I've been more effective than Charles at concentrating my troops.|
Campaigns on the Danube does for 18th century army command at the operational level what the Scourge of War games do for command at the tactical level. Orders move at the speed of a man on horseback, and by the time your orders reach your subordinate the situation may have changed so dramatically that they no longer make sense. Travel slows in bad weather and difficult terrain, making it difficult to coordinate the actions of two or more corps. Subordinates, closer to the actual situation, may not do what you ordered them to do.
There is also a very detailed logistics layer to the game. As the player you can choose to control every aspect of this or you can delegate most of it to the computer, focusing only on the macro decisions. The computer will intelligently place depots and send supply trains out to your corps, but you must determine the placement of your hospital and center of operations. Place them too close to the front lines and you run the risk of them being overrun, too far and your units will have too wait too long for supplies and can't fallback safely if retreating.
|A resounding French victory|
Given the age of the game, I don't have much hope that Matrix or Mr. Hunter will ever release another game using this engine covering other campaigns of the period, but if they did I would buy it instantly. If the idea of playing a game as Napoleon or Charles, leaning over a map in your tent, sending messengers off to your corps appeals to you, the game is on sale during the Matrix holiday sale right now for just $9.99.